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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Galapagos

Story by Terra Sur Travels


The Galapagos Islands

So many questions come to mind, like, what can you expect? What should you know before booking your trip? When should you visit?

No worries! We are here to help you.
After you read this guide, you will know everything you need before traveling to the Enchanted Islands.

Where are the Galapagos Islands?

While the Galapagos Islands are well-known among scientists, nature enthusiasts, and travelers, it is possible that some people may not be familiar with their exact location.

When is the best time to visit The Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands can be visited year-round, but the wildlife and weather vary.

The islands have two seasons: the “warm season” (December to May) and the “cool season” (June to November).

In the warm season, the temperature is higher, resulting in sunny days and occasional afternoon rain. This season brings green vegetation, providing plenty of food for land animals. Snorkeling is excellent during this time due to the calm seas and good visibility.

In contrast, the cool season has lower temperatures and a constant misty fog called Garua. Rain is rare, but the ocean is rougher due to increased tradewinds. Snorkeling is still good, but visibility is slightly reduced. This season is ideal for spotting penguins, dolphins, whales, and other large marine animals because of the increased marine life caused by cold currents and mixing.

How many visitors?

The Galapagos National Park has rules about how many visitors can come to protect the delicate environment. Even when busy, they ensure there aren’t too many people. If you want a quieter time, you can go in April to May or October to November when there are usually fewer people on the islands.
Where you can fly to


This volcanic archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean, 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador.

There are no direct flights to the Galapagos Islands from other countries, so you will need to take an international flight to Ecuador and then take a local flight from Ecuador’s main cities: Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (GPS) or San Cristóbal (SCY).

Three airlines operate daily flights to the Galapagos Islands:

  • LATAM (recommended)
  • Avianca
  • Equair


  • When packing for the Galapagos, you are allowed one checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs. 23 kg. and one small carry-on.
  • It is almost always necessary to spend at least one night in Quito or Guayaquil before flying to the islands since the Galapagos flights depart in the morning.
  • There is a third airport on Isabela Island for small aircraft flights from San Cristobal or Baltra.

Before your flight

You need to get a Transit Control Card (TCT). The cost is USD 20 per person – paid in cash only.

You can find the Immigration Control and Transit Control Card Emission booth at Quito & Guayaquil airports.
You will need your passport and your boarding pass.

NOTE: You need to keep your TCT for your flight back.

After getting your TCT, you need to go to the luggage inspection.

Here, you will have to get your baggage x-rayed to ensure you’re not carrying fruits, plants, seeds, or anything else organic that may harm the delicate ecosystem of the islands.

Only the checked bags will be sealed with a plastic seal.

After you check your TCT and luggage, you can proceed with the check-in at your airline’s counter.

Once you land in The Galapagos, you will walk to the main airport building, where you will pay the entrance fee of USD 100 per person – only payable in cash.
For kids under 12 y/o, the fee is USD 50.


  • Passport
  • Round-trip air ticket to the Galapagos province
  • Traffic control card (Ingala card) issued by the Special Regime of the Galapagos Government

What to pack for the Galapagos?

  • Breathable waterproof rain jacket
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sports sandals
  • Water-resistant daypack
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • Lightweight, long sleeve shirts
  • Eco-friendly insect repellent

How is the transportation between the islands?

If you decided against the cruise and went for an island hopping experience, you have two options to travel between the inhabited islands: by speedboat or inter-island flights.

Speedboats and inter-island flights are two standard modes of transportation in the Galapagos Islands, each offering distinct advantages and differences.

A clear idea of each experience will help you decide the best option according to your budget and needs.